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Tour and tournament reports

Bangladesh vs West Indies 2020-21

A review of Bangladesh vs West Indies 2020-21

Mohammad Isam
Kyle Mayers is ecstatic upon hitting the winning single, also his 210th run in the innings  •  BCB

Kyle Mayers is ecstatic upon hitting the winning single, also his 210th run in the innings  •  BCB

One-day internationals (3): Bangladesh 3 (30pts), West Indies 0 (0pts) Test matches (2): Bangladesh 0 (0pts), West Indies 2 (120pts)
West Indies' hopes were not high as they embarked on this tour without a dozen regulars, who declined to travel. Bangladesh had been troublesome opponents at home in recent years, and their canny spinners were expected to outwit inexperienced adversaries. The home side did sweep the one-day series, in which the West Indians failed to reach 180 - and were on top in the First Test before a stunning turnaround, spearheaded by the debutant Kyle Mayers, whose unbeaten 210 had been bettered only once in the fourth innings of a successful Test run-chase, by Gordon Greenidge, a fellow Bajan.
West Indies came out on top in a close-fought Second Test as well, to complete one of their finest performances of recent years. Leaving aside a one-off match against Afghanistan late in 2019, it was their first series win in Asia since beating Bangladesh 2-0 in November 2012.
Kraigg Brathwaite, the quiet understudy of Jason Holder, maintained this was not a second-string team. Mayers and Nkrumah Bonner, previously on the fringes, became heroes, while Rahkeem Cornwall proved a match-winner under pressure, and wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva carved out important runs.
Holder had been one of the 12 who turned down the trip - understandable given the number of tours West Indies had during the pandemic, and when there were lucrative franchise tournaments. The missing players were assured their absence would not be held against them, but by the end several might have been looking anxiously over their shoulder. Not long after, Brathwaite replaced Holder as full-time Test captain.
Bangladesh were shocked by their feeble performance in the Tests. It was their first international series since the pandemic, but they had crushed a much stronger West Indian side at home in 2018-19, and breezed through the one-dayers. They were not helped by a thigh injury to Shakib Al Hasan, which kept him on the sidelines after the second day of the First Test, but their three other spinners all underperformed on the fifth as Mayers took charge. Mominul Haque also came in for criticism for his reactive captaincy, and was outshone by Brathwaite, who extracted the best from veteran seamer Shannon Gabriel, and spinners Cornwall and Jomel Warrican.
The tour had started poorly for West Indies. In the 50-over games, they were forced to field nine debutants, of whom only Akeal Hosein, a left-arm spinner from Trinidad who had done well in the CPL, showed much gumption. The task of leading this callow bunch fell to Jason Mohammed, who had not played an international since July 2018. For Bangladesh, the focus was on Shakib, who did well on his return following a year's ban for failing to report a corrupt approach.